When the bi-weekly clients accuse you of...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    not mowing the lawn 10 or 11 days ago, is there ANY way to win this conversation? I am all ears and have not figured out a way to win in this situation.

    I take great pride in our ability to show up on the day we're supposed to. We have NEVER had a weekly client accuse us of not mowing their lawn and charging them for it.

    Nothing burns me up more than some bi-weekly POS calling up 10 days after their last cut to insist that we did not mow their lawn. I mean NOTHING makes me madder than this phone call.

    And when the phone rings with that complaint, there is no winning. You are on the defensive from the very beginning of the conversation.

    If you stand up to them and insist that it was mowed and they should have called within a day or two of us missing the cut, they get mad and cancel. If you run back out there for a free re-cut, you are confirming it in the client's mind that you scammed them...then they don't trust you anymore. I'd rather have no client than a client who doesn't trust me.

    If anyone has figured out a way to win consistently when this complaint comes up, I am all ears.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. Brendan Smith

    Brendan Smith LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,196

    almost all of my customers are bi weekly and i have never run into this situation. there is such a dramatic difference in the appearence of the lawn, how could they not notice? i'm sure it will come one day though, as people are nuts. :dizzy:
  3. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116


    This complaint is on the way for you too. Trust me.

    It is rare that it happens, but it does happen. They look out at the lawn and see that it needs mowing. Rather than concluding that it needs to be mowed weekly, they conclude that the lawn mowing company must be screwing them.

    I have dealt with this complaint probably 10 times over the last 4 years. Generally, it is more common in April & May when it is raining a lot.

    Today, I just about lost it with this lady. I more or less lectured her about not accusing us of this unless it was within 48 hours of when their cut was due.

    She got mad and cancelled. Obviously, I didn't handle it correctly.

    Since we've been in business, we have mowed literally tens of thousands of lawns. No one has EVER accused us of not mowing their lawn within 7 days of when we mowed it. It is always some bi-weekly cheap-azz who is too cheap to pay for weekly service calling 8+ days after their last cut.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  4. Tharrell

    Tharrell LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,964

    I understand how you feel. What about the 10 day'ers? "Has it been 10 days already?" PITA for sure. I need customers just like everyone else but, I don't need THAT customer. I tell them that on the very rare occasion this happens.
    I really love it when they say they'll tell everyone blah blah blah. I say, "I'm gonna tell everyone too! Especially all the LANDSCAPERS! Good luck getting ANYONE to cut your lawn!"
    You can't win and you might as well vent on them or at least have some fun. I like to talk gibberish to them but I can't do it with a straight face! I always bust out laughing at them and that really burns their asses.
  5. Thirdpete

    Thirdpete LawnSite Member
    from Chicago
    Posts: 236

    screw biweekly. stresses the machines, PITAs, more objects to watch for, etc.
  6. jazak

    jazak LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 843

    I had that happen to me twice and both times I showed the people my records and have had a nieghbor witness that I was there other then that I don't know. I really only want to do weeklys because of that.
  7. Brendan Smith

    Brendan Smith LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,196

    i agree to an extent. most houses in this area do not have irrigation. those customers i have who do are weekly. during july, august, and sept, it tends to be really dry here and they just don't need it every week. sure bahia grass pops up, but overall, it is not enough to justify weekly service. those who do irrigate definately need it weekly.
    i have been servicing my clients (in most cases) for several years, and the rapport i have built keeps this stuff from happening. do doubt i'll have to face it someday, but until then, i'm not losing sleep.

    oh yeah - another thing - this area is really rural and most folks are trusting, which helps.
  8. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Believe me, if we could stop offering bi-weekly service, we would. The bi-weekly clients represent 1/3 of our clients and they make up 20% of our lawn mowing revenues. Of course, they are about 60% of our complaints, but we would rather deal with the higher complaint ratio than lose 20% of our lawn mowing revenues.

    Back to the original question: When a bi-weekly client accuses you of not mowing 8+ days ago, how do you win?

    By win, I mean:

    1.) Keep them as a client
    2.) Keep their trust
    3.) Not give away free service

    DFW Area Landscaper
  9. TheGrassBandit

    TheGrassBandit LawnSite Member
    Posts: 86

    This situation happened to me last year with one lady. I also pride myself on keeping a tight schedule. The first time I gave her the benefit of the doubt. She tried to play the card again and I gave her the boot.
  10. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,426

    I would look them in the eye and tell them I am 100% sure that I cut the lawn on the day mentioned. But since you have been such a loyal customer I will give it to you this time. That way you keep your pride, you keep the customer and in the long run make more money. If it happens again then drop them and make sure to go through measures to get your money. I take along a digital camera for customers that live out of the area and document the cuts and even send emails with the picture attached. It may help to keep pictures of problem clients. I do things such as vacation homes, storage building where the customer lives in Ohio or Louisville and can't check on the home that often. I will send them a picture every now and then letting them know I'm on the job and watching out for thier best interest. Some have even given me keys to check for water leaks, frigerator, freezer, and general security concerns. I still have one lady that I sent a picture of her lawn in the spring and now she wants them all to look nice and green like the spring pictures even though were in a bit of a drought. I works most of the time.

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